It can be difficult for your family when it’s time for Mom and Dad to be admitted to a nursing home. At Winkler Legal in Columbus, Ohio, we make sure you have everything you need to make the right decisions when it comes to elderly family members. Whether you have recently admitted your parents to a nursing home, or are planning to do so in the near future, below are suggestions from Winkler Legal.
- Do not give away your mom and dad’s assets. There is a mistaken belief that to qualify for Medicaid financial assistance with long-term nursing care you must give away all of your assets. This is a big mistake. Giving away assets simply ruins your parents’ financial security and will have no bearing on your mom and dad qualifying for Medicaid financial assistance.
- Contact a qualified elder law attorney, like attorney Dirk Winkler, with experience getting applicants qualified for Medicaid financial assistance with long-term nursing care. Unlike other areas of the law, qualifying for Medicaid assistance requires a thorough understanding of complicated federal and state laws and regulations.
- Your parents don’t need to be penniless to qualify for assistance. It is a widely held belief that to qualify for Ohio Medicaid long-term care financial assistance you must be penniless. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many ways to protect a significant portion of assets while also qualifying for Medicaid financial assistance.
- Gather your parents’ financial documents and holdings. It is important to gather all of your parent’s financial records for the previous five years. Documentation including current income, property (real estate, automobile), bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance and tax returns (with supporting income documentation). It is also important to determine whether your parents transferred assets for less than their fair market value during the past five years. That is, they gifted assets to others or sold assets at a discount. It is important to carefully review significant reductions in assets going back five years.
- Obtain durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney with enhanced powers. Your parents need to sign both a Durable Power of Attorney “DPOA” (for financial affairs) and a Healthcare Power of Attorney “HCPOA” (for healthcare decisions) as soon as possible. This is so the designated individual can make financial and healthcare decisions should your parents be unable. Failing to have a DPOA or HCPOA in place before a medical or healthcare issue arises will require a guardianship proceeding to be opened at Probate Court, which is a time consuming and very expensive alternative.
- Make sure your parents have a comprehensive estate plan. A well-thought-out estate plan including a Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts, Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will can provide certainty for the care of your parents during their lifetime while also planning for the protection of assets during their lifetime and distribution of their assets when they pass. An estate plan provides peace of mind for your parents and their loved ones, knowing that all contingencies have been covered should something happen.
- Assets of the applicant and their spouse will be considered when determining financial eligibility for qualifying for Medicaid financial assistance. However, depending on the circumstances, we can protect up to $126,420 for a spouse. It is important to speak with an experienced elder law attorney well-versed in protecting assets from the high cost of long-term nursing care.
- Stay on top of your parents care in the nursing home—be their advocate! Let elder law attorney, Dirk Winkler at Winkler Legal support you, while you are supporting your family. Contact us today for a free phone consultation.